Letter: The Government was warned beggars would be Thatcher's memorial

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The Independent Online
Sir: Having worked in the Waterloo/Strand/Charing Cross area of London for eight-and-a-half years, not once have I been intimidated by people begging for money.

Yet, it seems that an amoral Government, tainted with scandal and failure to live up to the Victorian values it clutches at, is again resurrecting the philosophy of the 'undeserving poor'. A few months ago it was single mothers. Now it's an overblown picture of cynical and threatening wastrels waiting to force our money from us round every corner. Another attempt to appeal to base instinct, the fear, the prejudice? Another set of victims from a Government that has turned victimisation practically into policy? When will it end?

And never mind that the gap between the richest 10 per cent and the poorest 10 per cent of our population is now greater than at any time since before the First World War, never mind that training budgets have been cut, council houses sold, never mind that the 'problem' of begging largely didn't exist before the Conservatives came to power. Out of sight, out of mind.

If all that weren't enough, has it crossed the Prime Minister's mind that many of these 'beggars' might welcome some time in police cells - with luxuries like a bed, a hot meal and shelter?

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD SHAW

Appleshaw,

Hampshire

28 May

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